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5 Priceless Lessons I Learned When I Became a Personal Trainer

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Being in the fitness profession puts exercising and wellness in a totally different perspective. You still share the interests of gym enthusiasts, but you also learn a new approach to exercise. I never had a "training plan" when it came to my workouts until recently. Now, having a plan keeps me focused—it's focused on my needs and goals rather than on lofty ideas I can't stick to. I learned that there IS a difference between "training" and "working out." When you train, you have specific goals in mind that keep you going. It could mean getting stronger, faster, or improving your mobility. Simply working out—while necessary for staying healthy—doesn't always guarantee success for your goals. If you don't see the changes you're looking for, it's easy to get discouraged. Below are some of the ways fitness transforms trainers' lives, and how it can change yours as well.

It Teaches You About Patience

Sometimes you think you can't physically do something—until you learn there is a learning curve each step of the way. It's never just point A to point B. There are a lot of other variables in between. If you've never been able to do a chin-up, for example, you learn that it takes time and practice to build up the muscles and get it right. It doesn't happen overnight. "[Patience is] a part of every mental, physical, and metaphorical part of your life and can help you to achieve goals you never thought were possible," says Jessica Bolbach, co-founder and co-owner at KORE New York. "You just have to want to make a change and commit to the tools and you will be amazed by what you can do!"

It's More Than Looking Good

Sure, one of the perks of exercise is looking good, but it's a lot more than what's on the outside. It starts to become more about what the body is capable of doing. "Change happens in many forms and it's the internal changes of the body getting stronger and gaining functional movement patterns that supersedes aesthetics," says barre and Pilates instructor Bianca Reid. Beauty, as we learn all the time, still comes from within.

It's About Helping Others

One of the big things trainers learn is that fitness is not just about you. It's mainly about everyone else BUT you. "It's about how you can serve and support another person, group, or even a community to be the best version of themselves," elaborates NYC-based personal trainer Alyssa Gagarin.

It's About Going Back to Basics

One of the problems with everyone claiming they're fitness gurus on social media is the fact that many of them are NOT real experts. It's less about promoting how they look and more about educating those around them on what's important. "What I learned is that it is more about mastering the fundamentals, or basics, of fitness," points out strength coach Corina Soare. "The problem is people are so caught up on what's trendy that they forget that it's more important that they breathe, move well, and focus on exercises that functionally help them with everyday activities."

It Teaches You That Strength Supersedes Weight

A lot of times, people—women especially—are worried about gaining weight. However, once you understand how putting on muscle is more beneficial than being skinny, you change your tune. "I'm no longer bothered or pay attention to the number on the scale because the more muscle I put on, the stronger I feel, and the more empowered I become," says group fitness instructor and personal trainer Caitlyn Seitz.